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Karratha and Roebourne soaked by heaviest May rain in decades

Rob Sharpe, Tuesday May 6, 2014 - 13:35 EST

Rain spreading across Western Australia has been unseasonably heavy in the Pilbara, with totals over 100mm.

A low and trough approached the Gascoyne Coast yesterday, but it was the moist northeasterly flow into the Pilbara that brought the heaviest rain.

Locals would be surprised to see roads turning to mud and rivers rising to such high levels during May. This type of rain is more typical of summer and sometimes early autumn.

Roebourne picked up 117mm in under 24 hours, making it their biggest May day since 1942. This was almost as much rain as when Tropical Cyclone Chirstine dumped 166mm on the Pilbara town in late December.

Nearby Karratha gained a whopping 107mm, their largest May day in 40 years of records. This was only 6mm less than what Christine produced.

Thankfully, this time winds have been much lighter than when Christine came to town with wind gusts up to 41km/h rather than 133km/h.

Elsewhere, the low and trough have brought 22mm to Onslow, 12mm as far inland as Paraburdoo and 12mm to Port Hedland. Lighter falls have also spread across most of the state, with 20mm at Denham, 10mm at Leinster and 7mm in the South East Coastal town of Esperance.

The trough is weakening as it moves east, allowing the patchy rain to generally become lighter. The heaviest falls will remain in the Pilbara, although they are unlikely to exceed 100mm like they did in the previous 24 hours. The focus of the heaviest rain should remain in the area around Karratha.

- Weatherzone

© Weatherzone 2014

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